All-Natural Secrets To A Better Night’s Sleep

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All-Natural Secrets To A Better Night’s Sleep

Sleep problems affect 70 million Americans every day—one out of five of us. Are you one of them?

You may have tried things like warm milk or chamomile tea with honey before bed, only to lie awake wondering when it was going to kick in. Or maybe you’ve mentioned insomnia to your doctor, and he handed you a prescription for something you’ve seen on TV. Most of these sleep medications are only intended for short-term use (two weeks or less), and some are actually addictive.

Sleep is one of the best things for your overall health. Long-term poor or insufficient sleep can affect:

  • Weight
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Mental acuity
  • Impaired cognition
  • Driving
  • Emotional balance (crankiness, bad judgment, etc.)
  • Hormone production/fertility
  • Immunity
  • Premature aging
  • Behavioral difficulties in children

Computers, smartphones, tablets and even your Wi-Fi can disrupt your sleep with an EMF (electromagnetic field), especially if they’re charging next to your bed. Turn these off at night, or move them at least three feet away from the sleeping area—including children’s rooms. Use a regular alarm clock, also three feet away, with a gentle but effective alarm to wake you up in the morning.

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Making your room completely dark (or as close as you can get) will help normalize your circadian rhythm and start the production of melatonin. A slightly cooler temperature—around 69 Fahrenheit—is optimal. Even a small bit of light—from outside, from a phone, or from anywhere else can disrupt your sleep and stop the normal flow of melatonin.

Regular exercise also helps, but not at night–unless it’s a relaxing yoga or other type of stretching. Avoiding big meals and caffeine too late at night allows your system to relax and sleep. But if you’re still having trouble sleeping, or you’re waking up at night, natural sleep aids are non-addictive and readily available.

  • Melatonin. This hormone controls your sleep and is produced by the pineal gland. Pill dosages range from 3mg to 10mg, so you’d have to try some and find out how it affects you. Too much can lead to headaches, nausea and other side effects, so start with a small dose and raise it as needed. Take it one hour before bedtime, unless it’s a “quick release” pill. Melatonin is best for short-term use.
  • Valerian root. One of the most common natural sleep aids available. The plant is native to Europe and parts of Asia, and is consumed either as a tea or in capsules. Valerian root promotes deep sleep and calmness, and increases GABA levels.
  • GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid. This amino acid works in the central nervous system to tamp down the brain’s nerve activity. Low levels of GABA interfere with deep sleep, causing you to wake up frequently. GABA is sometimes combined with 5-HTP to promote sleep.
  • L-Tryptophan. Yes, this essential amino acid in turkey also helps with sleep on its own. Available as a supplement, 500 mg nightly helps maintain serotonin and 5-HTP levels and promotes sleep.
  • L-Theanine. This green tea extract is an amino acid that’s also available in pill form. It promotes calmness both day and night, resulting in a deeper sleep. Recommended dose is 50 to 200 mg.
  • Magnesium. A deficiency of this multipurpose mineral can cause insomnia. Taking 200 to 400 mg of magnesium citrate before bed removes calcium from the muscles and relaxes cramped muscles. You also can soak in Epsom salts or rub magnesium oil on your skin to absorb it quickly.
  • Lavender. A small pouch of dried lavender placed under your pillow, or in a sleep mask, can help you relax and fall asleep. Lavender spray on bedding also works.

Try only one of these supplements at a time, and when you have time to sleep (i.e., weekends, a day off). You don’t want to be late for work because something knocked you out! Once you determine if it works, you’ll know if you can take it regularly.

Sources:

Magnesium makes me sleep, Dr. Carolyn Dean, 12/26/2012

Nightcaps, sleeping drugs and magnesium, Dr. Carolyn Dean, 2/18/2010

Sleeping with the enemy, Dr. Carolyn Dean, 08/16/2010

8 Natural Remedies That May Help You Sleep, Mercola.com, 01/06/2009

What Happens in Your Body When You’re Sleep Deprived?, Mercola.com, March 03, 2016

How Much Melatonin Should You Really Be Taking? Sleep.org (The National Sleep Foundation)

Why I chose Magnesium over Melatonin, Sylvie McCracken, HollywoodHomestead.com, December 2013.

7 Natural Sleep Aids that Really Work, DrAxe.com

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Victory: Court Says Creamery Can Label Its Skim Milk … ‘Skim Milk’ (Huh?)

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Victory: Court Says Creamery Can Label Its Skim Milk … ‘Skim Milk’ (Huh?)

Image source: Institute for Justice

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In what some are calling a victory for common sense and liberty, a U.S. federal appeals court Monday handed a creamery a major victory by ruling that all-natural skim milk can be labeled “skim milk” even if it is not injected with state-mandated Vitamin A.

The unanimous 3-0 decision overturned a decision from earlier this year by a federal judge.

At the heart of the controversy is Ocheesee Creamery, which has an all-natural philosophy and clams that injecting the vitamin would make its skim milk anything but all-natural. The state had ordered the creamery to label the skim milk “imitation skim milk” if it didn’t have Vitamin A.

The creamery sells cream, skimmed from whole milk, to families and coffee shops; skim milk is the byproduct. The creamery currently dumps about 400 gallons of skim milk each day because it refuses to label its product “imitation.”

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The creamery’s use of “skim milk” to describe its product “is not inherently misleading,” the judges ruled.

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“As the Creamery’s label does not concern unlawful activity and is not inherently misleading, the Creamery’s commercial speech merits First Amendment protection,” read the ruling, which vacated the lower court’s decision.

The judges remanded the case to the lower court.

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“This decision is a total vindication for Ocheesee Creamery and a complete rejection of the Florida Department of Agriculture’s suppression of speech,” said Justin Pearson, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, which is representing the creamery. “All Mary Lou wants to do is sell skim milk that contains literally one ingredient — pasteurized skim milk — and label it as pasteurized skim milk.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture had ruled the milk could be labeled “skim milk” only if it was injected with artificial Vitamin A.

“I simply want to tell the truth about what is in the products I sell, and I did not like that the government wanted me to lie,” Mary Lou Wesselhoeft said. “Today’s good news is proof that it is important to stand up for your rights when the government wants you to do something that is wrong.”

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

The Corn-Free, All-Natural Way To Feed Your Backyard Chickens

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

The standard advice for feeding laying hens is simple: Just buy corn and layer mash. And if you’re primarily concerned with saving time and trouble, this is probably the right approach for you. But if you’re concerned with health and sustainability, you might consider another approach. Natural feeding can allow you to avoid pesticide-treated GMO corn. It also helps you make fuller use of your land’s resources in feeding your flock, and produces tastier, healthier eggs. We’ve been moving toward more natural feeding for several years, and so far we’ve been pleased with the results.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to natural feeding. This article lays out some basic natural food sources. Don’t worry about getting the proportions exactly right. Proportions matter if you’re feeding one pre-blended ration, but if you consistently offer your hens different types of whole foods, they can select what they need. Think about what you have available, mix and match to create your feeding program, and notice how it works for your hens. Make adjustments as needed.

Outdoor Feeds

Pasture

Pasture provides chickens with greens, worms and bugs; it also may include seeds and fruits. Pasture can provide a substantial portion of your flock’s energy requirements. It also provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals, and those benefits get passed on to you; eggs from pasture-raised chickens are higher in omega-3 acids and some vitamins.[i] Foraging also keeps chickens occupied and makes them less likely to attack each other.

Fully free-ranging hens get the broadest nutritional boost from their extensive pasture.

They’re also quite vulnerable to predators, they may tear up your gardens, and they may hide their eggs where you can’t find them. Electro-net or other portable fencing allows chickens to range somewhat while providing a boundary.

Unless you clip your birds’ wings, they’ll be able to fly out. Hawks also can fly in. Chicken tractors of various kinds allow you to fully enclose chickens while still providing access to fresh pasture. The tractor must be moved frequently.

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Our current chicken setup features a small A-frame yard with an open bottom which rotates around our chicken coop and chicken compost pile.

Compost

Tractored chickens are likely to exhaust the bug and worm supply in their fenced yard fairly quickly. Compost piles are a good source for bugs and worms and also give chickens a chance to enjoy scratching while not destroying their fresh pasture. We throw weeds into the compost pile throughout the year; the chickens eat parts of them, and the rest rots down and provides habitat for red wigglers, sow bugs and many other chicken treats. We water the pile when it starts to dry out. Sometimes we also lay a board down over part of the pile for a day or two at a time; flipping the board always reveals a layer of sow bugs for the chickens to gobble.

Supplements

Some people manage to raise laying hens entirely on compost and pasture. This works best if they have access to extensive piles and pastures. Many backyard growers will need to offer supplements, as we do.

Grain

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Seeds are a very compact and efficient source of energy. We still buy some grain to feed our chickens. Corn and soy are the basis of most commercial chicken feeds, but we avoid these because they are usually genetically modified. Many other seeds, including wheat, oats, millet, barley and sunflower seeds, are not commercially available in GMO forms. The grains are high in energy, relatively low in protein. Sunflower seeds are high in fats and proteins. We feed a mix of wheat, oats and sunflower seed ordered from the local feed mill.

Field peas are not genetically modified now, although that may be changing in the next few years. Lentils are non-GMO and expected to stay that way for some time, according to the website GMO Compass. Both are high in protein but not fatty like sunflower seeds. Our feed mill doesn’t carry these, so we’ve had to find other protein sources.

Protein

Chickens need a high proportion of protein in their diets for health and good production. We’ve found several ways of supplementing protein with farm-raised inputs.

The pasture and compost provide some bugs and worms. Japanese beetles handpicked from our gardens are another good protein source; we collect them in a jug, pour them out into a shallow pan of water in the chicken yard, and watch the hens gobble them up. We’ve also given the hens minnows from our overstocked pond. Some poultry keepers raise red wiggler worms or soldier flies to supplement their hens’ diets.

Our chickens also get meat scraps. When we butcher rabbits, the hens get the offal. When we eat meat with bones in it the hens get the bones to pick.

Dairy products also work well for hens. They get the whey from our cheesemaking; usually we put it in a waterer and let them drink it, and sometimes we soak their grain in it. Cheeses that store too long and get too strong and sour for our taste also go to the hens.

Some poultry-keepers collect discarded food from delis or restaurants to feed their hens. This may contain a high proportion of meat and dairy products.

Vegetable Supplements

We live in upstate New York, where the ground is frozen and covered in snow for several months each year. During the winter our chickens move off the pasture and into an enclosed coop. The yolks of their eggs turn noticeably paler, as they have a more restricted diet. We periodically feed them fodder pumpkins, weeds and limp leaves from the greenhouse, leftover baked potatoes (never feed raw potatoes!), and wheatgrass to provide variety, vitamins and minerals.

What advice would you add on feeding chickens an all-natural diet? Share your tips in the section below:

[i] Jeff Mulhollem, “Research shows eggs from pastured chickens may be more nutritious,” Penn State News, July 20, 2010 (http://news.psu.edu/story/166143/2010/07/20/research-shows-eggs-pastured-chickens-may-be-more-nutritious)

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The ‘Natural’ Label On Your Food Is Baloney

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Big Food is prone to slap a “natural” label on everything — from potato chips to beef jerky to gummy worms. But what does “natural” really mean?

Good question – and a new short video from a Vox reporter seeks to get to the bottom of the controversy.

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7 Ways To Chase Away Mosquitoes Without Deet (No. 3 Was New To Us, Too!)

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7 Ways To Repel Mosquitoes Without Deet (No. 2 Was New To Us, Also!)

Image source: Pixabay.com

It was the perfect morning for a hike. After a string of hot days, the weather had cooled considerably. Humidity was low, and there was not a cloud in the cool morning sky.

My kids and I were ready for the adventure of a new hiking trail. We had snacks, plenty of water and other supplies in our daypacks, and we hit the trail with enthusiasm. Before long, however, my daughter and I were swatting our necks and arms. Soon, we realized we were being badly bitten.

Mosquitoes! They can ruin a hike, a camping trip, a picnic or even a lazy afternoon in your backyard. Scientists estimate that about one out of every five people is especially susceptible to mosquito bites – which explains why my son was relatively unscathed that day. Your blood type, metabolism, diet, general scent and even the color of your clothing play a role in why mosquitoes bite certain people more than others.

Not only are mosquito bites painful and itchy, but mosquitoes can carry dangerous diseases such as the West Nile Virus and malaria. If, like me, you prefer to avoid toxic commercial insect repellents, there are some alternative measures for repelling mosquitoes.

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Here are eight all-natural ways to keep mosquitoes from ruining your summer outdoor fun.

1. Garlic. Mosquitoes dislike the smell of garlic. You can repel mosquitoes by eating garlic before you spend time outdoors, since the garlic oil is slowly released through the pores of your skin.

You also can keep mosquitoes away by rubbing garlic juice on your skin. Simply pinch a fresh clove or two in order to get the juice flowing and apply it to your exposed skin. Another option is to consume garlic capsules.

2. Herbs. You can keep mosquitoes at bay with certain herbs, including lemongrass, mint, rosemary, lavender and basil. Simply rub the leaves onto your exposed skin before going outdoors.

To keep mosquitoes away from your home and garden, try planting these herbs in your garden, especially near your doors and windows. Planning a barbecue? Throw a few springs of rosemary on your charcoal grill to repel the biting insects.

3. Vitamin B1. Studies dating back 50 years indicate that taking vitamin B1 (thiamine) can deter mosquitoes and other flying insects from biting. Scientists theorize that vitamin B1 produces a skin odor that female mosquitoes, which are more likely to bite than male mosquitoes, find offensive.

Vitamin B1 is water-soluble. Try taking one 100 mg tablet each day (with a meal) during mosquito season.

4. Natural oils. Certain natural oils work well as natural mosquito repellants. You can create your own natural repellent by mixing a few drops of oil with a carrier liquid such as olive oil or sunflower oil. A 10 to 1 ratio often is a good formula. (Please note that researchers caution against using natural oils on children younger than three years old.)

Here are some natural oils that repel mosquitoes.

  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Tea Tree oil
  • Lemon oil

5. Homemade citronella candles.

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Citronella is a time-honored insect repellent. Here is a recipe for making homemade citronella candles.

What you need:

  • One-half pound raw, settled beeswax
  • Citronella and one or more of these essential oils: rosemary, geranium, lavender
  • Pan of boiling water and metal bowl (to use as double boiler)
  • Tea light wicks (available from crafts store)
  • 10 candle holders
  • Wooden chopsticks or similar small sticks for stirring
  • Thermometer
  • Knife

Directions:

Use the knife to break the beeswax into small pieces. Place the pieces in the metal bowl over the pan of hot water and stir continuously while it melts. Use the thermometer to test the water temperature. When it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, start adding several drops of the essential oils, stirring well after each addition.

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Pour the mixture into the candleholders. (If you are using glass, reduce the chance of breakage by pouring in a small amount of wax and letting it cool a little before adding more.) Once the mixture has cooled and a slight skin has formed on the top of the wax, add the wicks.

If the wicks are not already primed, pre-dip them in the wax for longer burning time. Next, place the primed wicks into the wax. The candles will be ready to use when the wax has completely hardened.

6. Apple cider vinegar. Insects, including mosquitoes, will avoid the strong smell of apple cider vinegar. You can make a natural mosquito repellent with organic apple cider vinegar and the essential oil of your choice. Add 25 drops of essential oil (such as lavender) to one-quarter cup of apple cider vinegar in a glass jar with a lid. Shake well to blend. Apply to skin.

7. Bats. Did you know that one small brown bat can eat more than 1,000 mosquitoes in one night? Attracting bats to your yard can therefore be an efficient and easy method of mosquito control.

Get tips on building a bat house here.

Finally, pay attention to the time when you are outdoors. Mosquitoes are most active early in the morning and at dusk. If you venture outside at these times, cover up with lightweight long sleeves and with long pants. Wear light colors, as dark colors tend to attract the annoying insects.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

8 Organic Ways To Keep Your Garden Bug-Free (No. 4 Kills Them Quick — But Is Safe For Humans!)

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

If you’re determined to grow a healthy garden without benefit of pesticides, you’re definitely on the right track. Conventional pesticides kill both good and bad bugs, leaving no natural controls that keep pests in check. As a result, pests are replaced with even tougher, chemical-resistant super-pests, with no beneficial insects left behind to maintain control.

Try not to panic if your plants are bothered by an occasional nibble, as “sharing” the garden is part of growing organically. Keep your plants properly watered. Ensure the soil is healthy and rich in organic materials. Keep in mind that healthy plants are always more pest-resistant than plants that are stressed.

If you find that your garden is overrun with pests in spite of good gardening practices, then consider natural alternatives such as these.

1. Beneficial insects. Such as lacewings, ladybugs, ground beetles, pirate bugs, parasitic wasps, praying mantis and hover-flies. Beneficial insects have preferred targets, so a healthy diversity of helpful bugs will help control a variety of pests, such as aphids, thrips, scale, mites and whiteflies.

2. Beneficial plants. Many blooming plants attract beneficial insects. For example, try alyssum, cosmos, Shasta daisy, yarrow, calendula and coreopsis, as well as herbs like dill, fennel, lemon balm, parsley and coriander. On the other hand, some plants, most notably marigolds, may help deter harmful pests.

3. Handpicking. Although it isn’t anybody’s favorite job, picking pests by hand is a highly effective natural pest control technique made easier with a good pair of gardening gloves. Most pickable insects, including caterpillars, slugs and tomato hornworms, are most active at dusk.

4. Diatomaceous earth. This powdery substance is made of the skeletal remains of tiny marine creatures known as diatoms. The abrasive dust abrades the outer covering of soft-bodied pests like potato beetles, squash bugs, slugs, snails, aphids, whiteflies and others, causing the pest to dry out and die. Although diatomaceous earth is safe, wear a dust mask because the dust can irritate your lungs.

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5. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) – A naturally occurring bacteria, Bt is non-toxic to humans, pets, birds and wildlife. However, when it is eaten by pests, the toxin dissolves in the gut and causes death in three to five days. Bt, available as spray or dust, is best applied in late afternoon and must be reapplied after rainfall or irrigation. The substance also can be mixed with insecticidal soap (see below), which improves coverage.

8 Organic Ways To Keep Your Garden Bug-Free (No. 4 Kills Them Quick -- But Is Safe For Humans!)

Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Insecticidal soap – A spray made of natural soap (not dish soap or hand soap), insecticidal soap spray isn’t toxic to people or animals, but deadly to soft-bodied pests like aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and spider mites. It is relatively safe, but because it kills on contact, it shouldn’t be applied when beneficial insects are present on the plant. Insecticidal soap spray works fast and is safe to use on vegetables up to harvest time. Don’t spray in the heat of the day or when the sun is directly on the plant.

7. Homemade sprays – The jury is out on homemade pest control sprays; some gardeners swear by them, while others claim they are a waste of time. If you’re inundated with pests, it won’t hurt to give them a try, and they might just work.

  • Garlic spray – Blend 10-12 garlic cloves in a quart of water, and then let the smelly mixture sit for at least a full day. Strain the solution through cheesecloth and add a cup of vegetable oil. For even more punch, add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper or chili powder, then let the mixture sit for another 24 hours. The spray, which is highly concentrated, should be mixed at a rate of ½ cup to 1 gallon of water.
  • Insecticidal soap spray – Mix 1 ½ tablespoon of natural soap (such as castile or oil soap) with a quart of water and a few drops of cooking oil, which helps the spray stick to foliage. You also can add a teaspoon of garlic or a garlic bulb, and/or a small amount of cayenne pepper. Some gardeners like to add one or two drops of citrus essential oil.
  • Red pepper spray – This simple spray consists of a tablespoon of chili powder or cayenne pepper and six drops of natural soap in a gallon of water. Mix well and apply weekly, or as needed.

8. Horticultural oil – A type of highly refined oil, horticultural oil plugs the pores so that insects can’t breathe. They soon suffocate. Although the oil dissipates quickly and little residue is left behind, horticultural oil shouldn’t be applied on very hot or cold days, or on drought-stressed plants. Horticultural oil is effective against a variety of pests, including spider mites, aphids, leaf hoppers and whiteflies, among others.

What all-natural pest-control recipes would you add? Share your gardening tips in the section below:

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10 All-Natural Ways To Repel And Kill Houseflies (No. 4 Is Super-Creative)

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Ah, the sounds of summer – the laughter of children as they play in the lawn sprinkler, the ice cream truck’s calliope soundtrack as it winds its way through the neighborhood and THWACK, the sound of a flyswatter hitting another household surface.

There are more than 300,000 known species of flies, and they can be found all over the world. In addition to being annoying, flies can carry and spread disease. Scientists believe they can transfer more than 100 pathogens, resulting in diseases such as typhoid, tuberculosis, cholera and dysentery. During the Spanish-American War, for example, an estimated 5,000 soldiers died from typhoid, a disease that is spread by flies, whereas only 4,000 soldiers died from combat.

If annoying houseflies are ruining your summer fun and you do not want to use toxic sprays around your home, here are some all-natural ideas for getting rid of them.

1. Apple cider vinegar

There are so many reasons to keep a bottle of apple cider vinegar handy in your home. Here is one more. Flies are attracted to the smell of apple cider vinegar. Therefore, you can create an easy and efficient flytrap with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap.

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Place one-fourth cup of apple cider vinegar in a cup or jar. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap. Next, partially block the entrance to the cup with a piece of plastic wrap poked with several small holes.

Place the cup in an area you have a fly problem and leave it there for at least 24 hours. Create and place as many traps as needed.

Flies will be attracted to the smell of vinegar and enter the cup through the holes in the wrap. However, they will not be able to figure out a way to escape. The dish soap causes the surface tension to break, causing the flies to sink into the liquid and drown.

2. Cloves

Here is a mess-free remedy that can help throughout your home. Flies dislike the smell of cloves. To keep flies away, place small bowls of dried cloves in rooms throughout your home. Another option is to stick cloves into an apple as a natural fly repellent.

Replenish the cloves when the scent fades.

3. Basil

Flies dislike the smell of basil and avoid areas where basil is present. Try placing some basil plants in sunny windowsills in your home. Place plants also near doorways and eating areas of your home.

To keep the scent of your plant strong, be sure to water it at its roots, and not on its leaves.

Another option is place bowls of dried basil in areas that flies frequent.

4. Natural flypaper

Commercial fly strips have toxic substances in them that can pose harm to your family and pets. You can make a natural version that works just as well. The key is to create a fragrant sticky substance to attract and then trap those pesky flies. Here is one recipe:

Ingredients

  • Cardboard or card stock paper
  • ½ cup corn syrup (there is an organic version)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Thread

Directions

Cut two-inch wide strips from cardboard or card stock. Punch a hole at the top of each strip and insert thread to create a loop for hanging.

Mix the corn syrup and sugar together. Coat one side of each strip with the mixture. Hang the strips where flies are congregating. Flies will be attracted to the strip, but they will become stuck to the strip when they land on it.

5. Lavender

You may love the fresh, sweet smell of lavender, but flies hate it. Try growing a large pot of lavender near your doorway, or hang sprigs of dried lavender in areas that flies tend to congregate inside your home.

6. Bay leaf

Dried bay leaves are another way to deter flies in your home. The leaves produce a subtle fragrance that flies dislike. Place some singly or in groups in areas where flies are a problem.

7. Mint

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Fresh-smelling mint in plant form or dried form also discourages flies. Try placing a bowl of crushed dried mint leaves on your kitchen counter or in other areas where flies are a nuisance.

8. Lemongrass spray

You can deter flies and help your home smell fresh and clean by creating a lemongrass spray.

Ingredients

  • Lemongrass essential oil
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • Spray bottle

Directions

Place 10-12 drops of lemongrass essential oil into spray bottle.

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Pour hot water into bottle.

Shake well to mix the ingredients.

Spray mixture around thresholds and windowsills or other spaces where flies are entering your house.

9. Honey trap

Many of us have heard the saying, “You can catch more flies with honey.” Well, here’s how.

Ingredients

  • Plastic one-liter or two-liter bottle (cap removed)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Water
  • Dish soap

Directions

Cut the bottle in half. Then fill the wider bottom section halfway with water. Add a few drops of dish soap to the water.

Next, smear honey near and all around the mouth of the top bottle section. Then place the top half over the water-filled portion with the mouth of the bottle in the water. Place this honey trap where flies are a problem. The honey will attract the flies, but they will become trapped and will drown in the water.

10. Eucalyptus oil

The strong odor of eucalyptus makes it a good fly repellent. Here is how to make a flytrap with eucalyptus oil.

Ingredients

  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Ribbons or strips of cloth

Directions

Place several drops of eucalyptus oil onto the strips or ribbons.

Hang the strips near windows and doors or simply place them out on windowsills.

Please note: Doctors recommend that pregnant women and people with high blood pressure or epilepsy avoid contact with eucalyptus.

How do you get rid of flies? Share your tips in the section below:

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Repelling Summer Bugs, The All-Natural Way

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Off-Grid Life In a $4,500 Converted School Bus

We all enjoy summer, but not everything about warmer weather is great.

For starters, wouldn’t it be nice if there were fewer flying insects – and if you didn’t have to grab a can of chemical-laced “OFF!” just to make them go away?

Well, you can, and that’s the topic of this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio. As herbalist and author Stephanie L. Tourles tells us, you don’t have to drench you and your family with DEET or other chemicals this summer. In fact, you may be able to use the all-natural ingredients already in your home to put together a few bug-repelling recipes – and they work!

Tourles is the author of “Naturally Bug-Free: 75 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects.”

She tells us:

  • Which all-natural products you can use to repel mosquitoes.
  • Why she never uses DEET – and urges others to do the same.
  • How you can ward off ticks.
  • What you should do if ants are crawling in your home.

Some of the recipes she shares with us work against almost any flying insect, so even if you don’t have mosquitoes, you should listen. Don’t miss this amazing episode if you hate pesky summer bugs!

5 Natural Garden Sprays For Combating Insects, Pests and Animals

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When you rely on your garden to provide a large portion of your family’s food – you want to make sure that the food coming out is as healthy and pure as possible. For us, that means using ZERO pesticides and

The post 5 Natural Garden Sprays For Combating Insects, Pests and Animals appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

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9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

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Whether it is from the onions on your sandwich or that extra cup of coffee, you probably have dealt with the uncomfortable problem of having bad breath at one time or the other.

Many of us grab a mint or chew a piece of gum for a quick fix. Some of us stash a bottle of mouthwash in our desk drawer or in a compartment in the car to freshen our mouths when we are on the go.

However, what do you do when you have an ongoing breath problem? Most commercial breath freshening products contain harsh, unnatural ingredients, and they can simply mask an underlying problem that is causing the bad breath in the first place.

The good news is that there are many natural ways to fight bad breath. In addition, most are easy and inexpensive. Here are nine natural ideas to try to help eliminate bad breath.

1. Take care of your teeth and mouth. The first step to fighting bad breath is to take a good look at your oral hygiene. It is important to visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Additionally, if you usually brush your teeth only first thing in the morning and last thing at night, consider brushing your teeth more frequently.

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Try brushing after every meal — which may involve having a toothbrush and toothpaste with you at work or in your car — and floss your teeth twice a day.

Speaking of that toothbrush – when was the last time you got a new one? Replacing your toothbrush every two to three months can help keep your breath fresh.

Your teeth are not the only culprits when it comes to bad breath. Your tongue can harbor odor-causing dead cells, fungi and bacteria. Try scraping your tongue each morning with a spoon and then rinsing with water afterwards to decrease or eliminate the odor.

Simply place the spoon on the back of your tongue and then drag it slowly forward. Rinse well and then repeat several times. Include the sides of your tongue in this cleaning process.

9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

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2. Drink plenty of water. Did you realize that a dry mouth could play a role in bad breath? When you do not wash bacteria away with water, they can thrive on the food particles in your mouth. These germs then can release foul-smelling byproducts that cause bad breath.

Your body’s own natural saliva can do the trick, but if you are dehydrated, you may not be producing enough salvia to eliminate the bacteria. Aim to drink more water during the day, and try swishing it around your mouth to help eliminate mouth odor.

3. Consume enough zinc. A deficiency in the mineral zinc can be a contributing factor to bad breath. As an antimicrobial, zinc helps neutralize and eliminate harmful germs in the mouth. Try supplementing your diet with food rich in zinc, including pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, sesame seeds and chickpeas.

4. Supplement with herbs and spices. Many items from your kitchen spice shelf or your herb garden can aid in eliminating bad breath when you chew them. Here are a few examples:

  • Cloves
  • Fennel
  • Dill
  • Cardamom
  • Anise seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

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5. Enjoy some citrus fruit. Eating an orange can be a simple and healthy way to fight bad breath. By stimulating your salivary glands, the citric acid also creates an acidic environment in which bacteria cannot thrive.

Another option is to nibble on a clean, small piece of lemon, lime or orange rind.

6. Create a natural mouth rinse. Many commercial mouthwashes contain alcohol, but you can easily create your own natural mouth rinse. Try gargling with a simple salt-water solution to help rid your mouth, throat and tonsils from bacteria.

Another option is to mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda to cleanse and to freshen your mouth. Squeeze in some lemon or lime juice, if you like, for flavor and for the added benefits of Vitamin C.

7. Consider probiotic foods. An overloaded digestive tract can contribute to breath problems. Basically, stomach problems can create a build-up of excess of gas that then exits your body through your mouth.

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Supplementing your diet with probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kombucha tea and fermented sauerkraut helps get your digestive system back in balance. Another idea is to mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with water and drink it prior to eating a meal to aid your digestive process.

9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

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8. Eat more raw foods. Many raw foods, such as apples, celery and carrots, can act as natural toothbrushes. Not only do they scrub your teeth as you chew, but they also can kill odor-causing bacteria. Some raw foods also have a high-water content that helps you produce more saliva.

9. Cleanse your body of toxins. Bad breath can be a sign that your body has a high level of toxins. Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes can contribute to the problem of bad breath, for example.

A natural way to cleanse your body is by drinking stinging nettle tea. Stinging nettle is a powerful herb that can help eliminate toxins, boost adrenal function, stimulate the lymphatic system and increase the excretion of uric acid through the kidneys – all of which can help fight bad breath.

If you are taking any medications, talk with your doctor to see if your prescription could be causing dry mouth or otherwise could be contributing to a breath problem. Over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants or diet pills also could be part of the problem.

Finally, bad breath could be a symptom of an underlying health issue, including anything from gum disease, to lactose intolerance, to diabetes. If you have tried the above natural remedies and still are experiencing bad breath, it may be time to see your doctor for a physical.

How do you fight bad breath? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

4 All-Natural Livestock De-Wormers That Experts Use

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4 All-Natural Livestock De-Wormers That Experts Use

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Many small farmers and homesteaders use natural wormers for livestock in place of chemical alternatives. As with any alternative health protocol, do your research and consult with your veterinarian before starting any treatment protocol for parasites.

Let’s first discuss why you might consider an alternative to chemical wormers. Chemical wormers are easily obtained, easily administered, and touted as the answer to parasite infestations.

However, as with most chemical concoctions that can be used on the homestead, they come with some possible side-effects that you may want to consider.

One of the most prevalent side-effects of chemical wormers: Parasites may develop resistance, meaning that eventually they won’t be effective on your livestock and you’ll need to change wormers.

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Another consideration is the residual chemicals that can be deposited in your soil when the wormer passes through your stock.

If you are raising livestock for meat consumption, you should consider the residual chemicals that may remain in your meat. If you sell your products to others, many of today’s consumers do not want to risk chemical residues in their meat.

4 All-Natural Livestock De-Wormers That Experts Use

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If you want to avoid the possibility of your wormer not working and the residual complications associated with chemical wormers, then consider some of these alternatives:

1. Herbal wormers. There are many pre-formulated herbal wormers available commercially for different types of livestock. You can also research and formulate your own. Be aware that herbs are powerful, and that caution should be used when mixing and dispensing to livestock.

2. Diatomaceous earth (DE). Food-grade diatomaceous earth is approved as an anti-caking agent in animal feeds. Make certain you obtain food grade, as other grades of diatomaceous earth are poisonous to animals or humans. For the best results, use DE continuously as a feed supplement.

3. Essential oils. Lots of small farmers have successfully used essential oils as an alternative worming protocol. Many of these oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil before adding them. Some of the most common are: clove, nutmeg, fennel, vetiver, cumin, anise, tea tree, Idaho tansy, thyme and laurel leaf.

4. Garlic. Fresh garlic or garlic powder can be used as a wormer. Introduce the garlic over several days, to get the stock accustomed to it, increasing the amount over time. Garlic acts quickly on existing adult worms.

The best way to keep your livestock free of parasites is to use a regularly scheduled worming routine and practice good prevention methods.

Avoid keeping animals in close quarters for long periods of time. A good prevention method for keeping parasites to minimum is rotating your stock to clean pastures and shelters on a regular basis.

To test for parasite levels in your stock, it is best to have a veterinarian perform a fecal examination test — or you can learn to do these yourself.

As with any farming practices, do some research, test your methods and observe the results.

What are your favorite ways to de-worm your livestock? Share your advice in the section below:

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All-Natural, Poison-Free Ways To Rid Your Home Of Mice

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All-Natural, Poison-Free Ways To Rid Your Home Of Mice

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Although they are small, mice can cause big problems when they enter your home. They can carry and spread disease and, since they breed quickly, they can do damage to your home and your belongings if left unchecked.

No one wants to think a mouse infestation is in the home, but if you are seeing any of these signs, you may have a rodent problem:

  • Unexplained tears, holes or shredding in clothing, fabric, insulation or other materials.
  • Small holes in desk drawers, kitchen cabinets and other furniture.
  • Mouse droppings; these are black, granular in shape and are three to six mm in length.
  • Strange rustling and scratching noises in the walls, especially at night.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mouse poisons account for thousands of calls to poison control centers each year, and research shows that remnants of these highly toxic substances can linger around your home for years, posing a danger to your family members, your pets as well as plants and wildlife.

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You have probably seen cartoons throughout your life of mousetraps wedged with bits of cheese, but you may be looking for other ways of removing these pests from your home and then keeping them out.

As is the case with many pests, including insects, ridding your home of mice can be a bit of trial and error. However, here are some effective – and natural – ways to get rid of them.

Peppermint oil is a natural product that is safe for both humans and animals, but mice hate the smell. Simply place a few drops of 100 percent pure peppermint oil on some cotton balls and then leave the cotton balls in areas where you have seen evidence of mice.

All-Natural, Poison-Free Ways To Rid Your Home Of Mice

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Other options for deterring mice with mint are to place mint plants or mint leaves around your home or even to smear mint toothpaste along baseboards or cabinet corners where mice have been. Another idea is to brew some strong peppermint tea and place it in a spray bottle. You can then spray the tea in areas where mice have entered your home.

The smell of mint will lose its effectiveness in a day or two, so be sure to replace the oil, mint or toothpaste several times a week for best results.

Bay leaves also have a strong odor that mice dislike. Try scattering some bay leaves in your pantry, kitchen cabinets and on shelves where mice have been active.

Mice also detest the smell of cloves. As you did with the peppermint oil, you can put several drops of clove essential oil on cotton balls and place the cotton in areas mice have gathered. Another option is to place whole cloves in a cotton mesh bag and set or hang the bags in trouble spots.

It may sound a little unusual, but mice do not like aluminum foil. They cannot chew through it easily, and they do not like the sound it makes when they walk on it. Therefore, you can place aluminum foil in areas mice have entered, or cover areas they have walked with sheets of aluminum foil.

Similarly, scented dryer sheets are a good mouse deterrent. You also can use them to seal cracks and crevices where mice may have entered or place them in areas where you suspect mice congregate at night.

Another safe way to deter mice is with baking soda. Simply sprinkle baking soda in trouble areas. You can sweep or wipe it up in the morning and reapply in the evening for best effectiveness.

Now that you have gotten rid of the mice that have taken up residence in your home, let’s look at ways to keep them out.

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The bad news is that mice can enter your home through gaps, cracks and openings in your home that are as small as a dime. Your first line of defense is to find and seal these openings. Be sure to examine areas where utility wires (such as for cable TV or the phone) enter your home. Also, look at areas around exhaust fans and dryer vents as well as the edges around windows and doors.

You can stuff steel wool into larger gaps before sealing them with caulk. Mice have difficulty chewing through steel wool, so it serves as a deterrent.

Mice are nocturnal and are constantly foraging for food and for bedding materials. Here are some tips for making the interior of your home less attractive to mice:

  • Store food –including cereals, rice and flour — in airtight containers.
  • Wipe down counters and sweep floors of crumbs at least once a day.
  • Pick up pet food bowls after feeding.
  • Keep sink and counters free of dirty dishes.
  • Empty kitchen trash at night.
  • Keep outdoor trash cans away from home entrances.
  • Remove and recycle old newspapers and magazines.

Finally, one of the best ways to keep mice away from your home is by adopting a cat. Cats are natural predators of mice.

Additionally, mice have strong aversion to the odor of cat urine and stay away from a home when they detect the smell. In fact, even if your cat is lazy at hunting mice, placing tubs of used kitty litter around the perimeter of your home can do the trick of keeping mice away.

What all-natural tips would you add for keeping mice away from your home? Share your advice in the section below:

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4 All-Natural Disinfectants Just As Potent As Store-Bought Chemical Cleaners

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4 All-Natural Disinfectants Just As Potent As Store-Bought Chemical Cleaners

If you are like most people, you have a vast array of great-smelling cleaning products under your sink that carry with them claims of great efficacy for keeping your home looking and smelling its best.

However, if the truth is told, the majority of these cleaning products are laced with highly dangerous chemicals, many that have little or no safety data available. These chemicals may significantly impact not only your health but also the environment.

The Environmental Working Group researched more than 2,000 common cleaning products and discovered that information about ingredients is hidden from consumers. The result is an unregulated industry and hundreds of potentially harmful cleaning products on store shelves.

Cleaning products are not required by federal law to list ingredients. This means that manufacturers can sneak in harsh cleaning chemicals regardless of their impact on health. Some of these cleaners can trigger skin problems, reproductive problems, hormone disruption, asthma or even cancer. Without full disclosure on the label, consumers have no idea what they are buying.

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Here are a few of the ingredients lurking in your products:

Phthalates: These are found in fragrances and products such as dish soap, toilet paper and air fresheners. These chemicals have been found to cause low sperm counts in men.

Perchloroethylene (PERC): These chemicals are found in spot cleaners, carpet and upholstery cleaners and dry-cleaning solutions. PERC is a known neurotoxin and is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a “possible carcinogen.”

Triclosan: This chemical is found in most dishwashing detergents, some toothpastes and also hand soaps that are labeled “antibacterial.” Research has shown that triclosan can alter hormone regulation in animals, contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs and harm the immune system. Even a very small amount of this dangerous compound can be absorbed through the skin.

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2-Butoxyethanol: Window and multipurpose cleaners contain this chemical that is known as powerful “glycol ether.” The Environmental Protection Agency notes that this chemical may cause sore throats while higher levels may cause narcosis, pulmonary edema, liver and kidney damage. You are at particular risk if you clean in an unventilated bathroom or small area.

Natural Disinfectants

If you are looking for a way to clean that is non-toxic but still effective, there is hope! Here are four all-natural cleaners you should try this year:

1. Vinegar. Vinegar is a powerful, natural disinfectant that has antimicrobial properties. Research shows that vinegar, when used in combination with salt or hydrogen peroxide, can even halt the growth of some strains of E. coli. Also, vinegar is a highly effective mold killer and won’t hurt the environment or your lungs like chlorine bleach.

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2. Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is known to be a powerful force against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It will kill E. coli, salmonella, shigella and staphylococcus. To make an effective disinfectant, mix two cups of water, half a teaspoon of liquid soap, two tablespoons of white vinegar and 20 drops of tea tree oil.

3. Neem oil. Neem oil, from the seeds of a tree native to India, is a powerful sanitizer, insect repellent and all-over cleaner. To make a potent cleaner, mix a little oil in a vegetable-based liquid soap like Castile. All you need is a few drops of this all-natural cleaner to clean your counters and other solid surface tops.

4. Grapefruit seed extract. Herbal scholar and author Stephen Harrod Buhner states that grapefruit seed extract is a more powerful disinfectant than standard hospital preparations. It can tackle Haemophilus influenza which causes sinusitis, meningitis and ear infections. Create a potent solution by mixing 40 drops of the extract with one quart of water. Shake well before each use.

So, this year, before you throw away your money on toxic brews with powerful claims to leave your home sparkling clean, consider a few of these easy-to-make and inexpensive disinfectant alternatives.

What all-natural cleaners would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

The Clever Off-Grid Way To Make Your Own Dryer Sheets, Detergent And Softener

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The Clever Off-Grid Way To Make Your Own Dryer Sheets, Detergent And Softener

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Conventional laundry detergents and fabric softeners often contain dangerous chemicals that can be harmful to your health and the environment. These chemicals come in the form of fragrances and dyes that often attract us to the detergent in the first place. Who doesn’t want their laundry to smell like falling spring rain or a honeysuckle vine?  However, don’t be fooled. Some of these cool colors and fragrances come at a cost.

Fortunately, you can have clean and fresh smelling laundry without the burden of chemicals. You can feel good about caring for the world around you and also can save money by making your own detergent.

I have been making laundry detergent for years and would not switch back to conventional suds even if someone paid me. I enjoy making it, my laundry is clean, I save a ton of money, and I feel good about what I’m doing for my family.

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You even can make your own dryer sheets and liquid softener.

Let’s get started:

Homemade Dryer Sheets

These fabric dryer sheets can be used over and over and do a great job of making clothes soft.

Ingredients:

  • white vinegar
  • glass container with lid
  • fabric scraps (cotton)
  • essential oils (mixture)
The Clever Off-Grid Way To Make Your Own Dryer Sheets, Detergent And Softener

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Cut some squares of cotton fabric; I like to use old dishcloths and T-shirts. If you are not going to sew the edges, use pinking shears. This will keep the fabric from fraying. If you have a sewing machine, you can do zigzag stitches on the edges. Mix ½ cup of vinegar with 10 drops of essential oils. I like lavender and tea tree. Pour your scented, softening solution into a container that reseals. Add your fabric squares and allow them to soak in the vinegar and essential oil mixture. Flip the container over and mix it up before use.

When it’s time to dry clothes, grab a couple of fabric squares, ring them out, and throw them in the dryer with your clothes. I use four per load. You can reuse the fabric squares over and over again. No need to wash them; just throw them back in the solution.

 

Homemade Liquid Softener

I don’t know about you, but I love my clothes to feel soft with no static cling. Here is a great recipe that leaves your clothes silky soft.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil

Stir the hot water and baking soda together. Slowly add in the vinegar. Beware: It will fizz up and bubble. Once it is all mixed together, store it in a container with a lid and shake before each use. Add about ¼ cup for each wash.

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Detergent Recipe One: The All-Purpose Clothes Cleaner

This recipe is great for everyday clothes:

Ingredients

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha soap
  • 3 gallons water
  • 5-gallon bucket with a lid

Instructions

  1. The Clever Off-Grid Way To Make Your Own Dryer Sheets, Detergent And Softener

    Image source: Pixabay.com

    Grate the bar of Fels-Naptha soap.

  2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  3. Lower heat to a simmer and add the grated soap.
  4. Stir with a wooden spoon until the soap dissolves.
  5. Pour 3 gallons of water into a clean, five-gallon bucket.
  6. Pour in baking soda, washing soda and the boiled soap mix.
  7. Stir until dissolved.
  8. Add in 25 drops of your favorite essential oil.
  9. Cover the bucket and let the mixture sit for 24 hours.
  10. Stir the mixture well before using – it will be clumpy.
  11. Use 1 cup for a regular size load. This mixture makes 52 cups.

 

Detergent Recipe Two: Peppermint Wash

I love the way this detergent mixes together, and the aroma is fabulous.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup peppermint Castile Soap
  • ½ cup super washing soda
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 2-gallon bucket
  • hand mixer

Instructions:

  1. Pour lukewarm to cold water in the bottom of the two-gallon bucket.
  2. Add the dry powders.
  3. Use a hand mixer to combine, adding more water if needed. You want the powder to be fully blended with no clumps.
  4. Fill the bucket almost to the top, with water.
  5. Add the Castile soap and stir with a long wooden spoon.
  6. Use a funnel to pour into containers.
  7. This make enough detergent for about 96 loads.

Have you ever made laundry detergent or dryer sheets? Share your tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

You Won’t Believe What Foods The FDA May Label ‘Natural’

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You Won’t Believe What Foods The FDA May Label ‘Natural’

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants your help in determining what a natural food is, and critics are concerned such a definition eventually will include such things as genetically modified foods and high fructose corn syrup.

The FDA says it has received three petitions from citizens demanding that it address the usage of the word “natural” on food labels, an FDA press release said. The agency also received a petition asking it to ban the use of the world “natural” in food labeling.

“We also note that some Federal courts, as a result of litigation between private parties, have requested administrative determinations from the FDA regarding whether food products containing ingredients produced using genetic engineering or foods containing high fructose corn syrup may be labeled as ‘natural,’” the FDA said.

As it stands now, some foods with decidedly unnatural ingredients — including high fructose corn syrup and GMO ingredients – are often labeled “natural” by manufacturers. Large food companies are officially asking the FDA to call GMO ingredients “natural.”

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“It has become, for many, a somewhat meaningless term,” Mark Kastel of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm advocacy group, said in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interview.

fda organic farmersCritics like Kastel say the word “natural” is nothing but a marketing gimmick.

“We go through great expense and great lengths to produce a product that is truly all-natural, but there’s no (federal) standard of identity or acceptable definition,” Edward Smolyansky, the chief financial officer of Lifeway Foods Inc., which makes organic kefir, complained to The Journal-Sentinel.

“There are lots of small companies abusing that term all-natural, and they’re getting away with it,” Smolyansky said. “They’re using cheap, unnatural ingredients from China and Mexico. They’re cutting down the quality of the products and fooling the customer.”

A number of big food makers have been sued over the term “natural.” PepsiCo removed the word “natural” from its Naked juices because they contained synthetic fibers and genetically modified ingredients. Kellogg took the terms “all natural” and “nothing artificial” off some Kashi cereals after they were found to contain GMOs.

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The Grocery Manufacturers Association says GMO ingredients, and high fructose corn syrup, should be labeled “natural,” The Journal-Sentinel reported.

“Corn is corn regardless of the plant breeding technique,” the GMA said in a petition.

The same petition said, “FDA has consistently recognized that biotechnology does not change the essential nature of a food.”

The FDA will take comments from the public until February 10. To submit a comment, visit the FDA website.

Do you believe GMO ingredients should be labeled “natural”? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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10 All-Natural Ways To Fight Chapped Lips And Dry Skin This Winter

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10 All-Natural Ways To Fight Chapped Lips and Dry Skin This Winter

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I bet you really enjoy those hot showers in the winter, but did you know you could be causing your skin to dry out? Winter is coming, and with it months of dry skin and chapped lips. We all know the itchy, dry, burning feeling of our skin and lips during this time, but it doesn’t have to be this way!

What are the main causes of dry skin and chapped lips, and what are some natural ways to take care of these wintertime problems?

The skin on your lips is very thin, so you can imagine how easily your lips are affected by the world around us. Lips do not have oil glands to protect themselves or create moisture. And lipstick doesn’t provide the protection or moisture you need during the winter, and can even be part of the problem.

Causes for Chapped Lips and Dry Skin

Lips

  • Licking your lips is a bad habit that is a common cause of chapped lips. Although it feels like your lips are moist for a moment, the wind actually dries the lips out faster. So you lick, they dry, you lick some more, they dry even more. The truth is, you are licking away moisture. Dehydration is a key cause of chapped lips.
  • Hot or cold weather changes can also be blamed for dryness and soreness. Aging is a cause with which little can be done, but you can still practice healthy habits and take care of your skin and lips.
  • If you rub or touch your lips often, you are transferring bacteria from hands to face, which could lead to cold sores or irritations. Also, if you bite or chew your lips, you can cause bleeding and cracking, making them susceptible to infections.
  • Excessive use of lipsticks filled with chemicals, or lip balms with alcohol, retinol or menthol can also be very drying.

Skin

  • As with your lips, age plays a role in dry skin. Low humidity and extreme temperatures are other common causes.
  • Extremely hot or lengthy showers, no matter how dreamy they feel, strip moisture from your skin. Also, hard scrubbing in the shower can irritate the skin and facilitate dryness. Products often used for the skin which contain alcohol can be drying as well.
  • Makeup, when used daily, can have chemicals which are absorbed into the skin. In the case of dry skin, the type of makeup used can lead to extreme dry skin, especially in the winter.
  • Yes, smoking is a leading cause of dry, wrinkled skin. Be healthy and put down the cigarette. Your skin will thank you.

How to Prevent Chapped Lips and Dry Skin

What is the number one way to prevent this winter dryness? Drink plenty of water every day. You will moisturize from within. Also, vitamin B is important to both lips and skin, so consume food rich in Vitamin B. Make sure you are getting enough Omega-3 as well. Omega-3 prevents dehydration in cells, and keeps them moisturized and strong. Overall, eat healthy, eat fresh vegetables and avoid processed foods.

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Use a natural lip balm. You can put it on before bed, or wear a long-lasting one with SPF during the day. If you want to wear lipstick, simply use tinted lip balm. (Learn how to make your own lip balm here.)

10 All-Natural Ways To Fight Chapped Lips and Dry Skin This Winter

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For your skin, remember to moisturize as soon as you get out of the shower. Use as little soap as possible, as any soap can be drying. Use natural body scrubs and skin products with SPF.

Natural Remedies

Lips

1. Coconut oil — natural and easy to find, this oil is full of antioxidants.

2. Honey — apply honey alone at night. It cleans and heals, especially dry, dark lips caused by exposure to the sun. You can take a dab of honey, and a touch of sugar, to create a natural and gentle exfoliating scrub. Gently rub the combination on your lips and wipe excess off.

3. Green tea bags — enjoy a cup of green tea, and use the bag for your lips. Press the used tea bag to your lips for four minutes, and repeat this every day until your chapped lips are healed.

4. Lemon juice — take one teaspoon of milk or cream, and three drops of lemon juice and mix. Place mixture in fridge for an hour, and then take out and rub on lips (and other skin.) You can repeat this daily for three days. Lemon juice helps to fight signs of aging, and it softens, smooths and nourishes.

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5. Cucumber — peel a cucumber and crush it to extract its juice. Take the juice and rub unto your lips, leaving it for 20 minutes and then wash off.

Skin

For your skin, there are many natural oils and creams you can use. In addition to coconut oil, here is a simple list you can find in most stores, including health and organic goods stores.

6. Shea butter.

7. Cocoa butter

8. Jojoba oil

9. Palm oil

10. Aloe Vera

You can also place one cup of powdered milk in the bath to combat dry skin, or mix lemon juice and vinegar in the bath water. Also, try products with lanolin.

So, stay healthy and moisturized from the inside out. Be aware of what dries your skin and lips. Look around and find some natural alternatives for wintertime dry skin and chapped lips.

How do you prevent dry lips and skin? Share your tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Turmeric: The Amazing Miracle Herb That Fights Cancer, Crohn’s And Alzheimer’s, Too

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Turmeric: The Amazing Miracle Herb That Fights Cancer, Crohn’s, And Alzheimer’s, Too

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Turmeric has been revered in the traditional medical systems of China and India for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory properties. Because of its benefits for a wide variety of health conditions, turmeric has recently gained popularity in the West as a potent herbal medicine, too.

The reported health benefits of turmeric are seemingly endless, primarily because it is a potent anti-inflammatory herb. Since a large proportion of many modern diseases have inflammation as part of their root cause, turmeric can serve as a powerful herbal ally.

1. Fights inflammation.

The primary anti-inflammatory component of turmeric is curcumin. Numerous studies have shown that curcumin’s ability to combat inflammation is comparable to that of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. However, unlike pharmaceutical drugs, curcumin does not produce the same toxic effects, such as intestinal bleeding.

Because of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects, it also may offer some hope for inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

2. Provides antioxidants

Turmeric contains powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, which are known to cause damage to the body’s cells.

These powerful antioxidants make turmeric particularly useful for providing relief to those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, where free radicals cause inflammation in the joints and can eventually lead to joint damage.

3. Helps prevent cancer

The antioxidant properties of turmeric help to protect cells from DNA damage from free radicals. Curcumin also is believed to be capable of destroying cancer cells and stopping their spread. This is said to be a result of the herb enhancing liver function, inhibiting a protein needed for tumor formation, and reducing the blood supply to cancer cells.

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By combining turmeric with other cancer-preventative foods such as cruciferous vegetables and onions, the anti-cancer potency of turmeric is multiplied.

4. Supports a healthy cardiovascular system

Turmeric: The Amazing Miracle Herb That Fights Cancer, Crohn’s, And Alzheimer’s, Too

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Due to curcumin’s antioxidant properties, it may help to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. This is especially important in supporting cardiovascular health, as oxidized cholesterol is responsible for damage to blood vessels and the formation of arterial plaque that leads to heart attack and stroke.

Turmeric is a source of vitamin B6, which helps to prevent homocysteine levels from increasing to dangerous levels in the body. Turmeric also helps the liver to clear away excess LDL cholesterol from the body.

5. Fights Alzheimer’s

Turmeric may help to prevent or block the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

  • Curcumin blocks the production of a protein that destroys the myelin sheath around nerve cells.
  • Curcumin’s antioxidant properties protect the brain and nerves from oxidation in the body that can lead to neurologic conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Curcumin binds to amyloid-B protein fragments in the brain and prevents them from clumping together to form the amyloid plaques that lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Curcumin boosts the immune system and helps it to destroy amyloid plaques. In Alzheimer’s patients, such immune activity is suppressed, whereas the immune cells in a healthy person work to destroy the abnormal cells.

How to Consume Turmeric

The following are just a few suggestions for how to consume turmeric and incorporate it into your diet:

  • Add to egg salad.
  • Add to lentil dishes.
  • Add to brown rice, along with raisins and cashews, cumin and coriander.
  • Add a pinch to salad dressings.
  • Use in curries, on sautéed apples, steamed cauliflower, green beans and onions.
  • Add a pinch of turmeric powder and dried onion to plain yogurt to use as a veggie dip.
  • Add to sautéed cruciferous vegetables and onions (that have been sautéed with a healthy oil such as olive oil or virgin coconut oil) as part of a cancer prevention lifestyle and diet.

With its many health benefits, it just makes sense to incorporate turmeric into your daily diet and lifestyle. Having a good supply of this healthy spice will ensure that you and your family can enjoy its benefits for a long time to come.

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If you are ambitious enough, you can also grow your own turmeric from a fresh root.

Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any particular health condition. Always consult with a qualified health professional to determine if turmeric (or any other herb) is right for you and your personal health condition(s).

Do you use turmeric? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

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